Vipers seal final berth with record-setting win
The start of the EHF FINAL4 2023 was record setting, as Vipers Kristiansand qualified for the final for the third time in a row, with a dominant display against Györi Audi ETO KC, 37:35.
It was the highest-scoring game in the history of the EHF FINAL4, with the two sides combining for 72 goals and breaking the record set by Vardar and CSM Bucuresti in the semi-final of the 2016/17 season, when they scored 71 goals.
- a very fast-paced first 30 minutes saw the record for the number of goals scored in the first half of any EHF FINAL4 match beaten, as the 41 goals were seven more than the previous record set by CSM and Vardar in 2017
- Györ conceded the highest number of first-half goals in their history in the EHF Champions League Women, 23, with the previous record set against Aalborg in the group phase in the 2005/06 season
- in the second half, Györ balanced the game and even managed to cut the gap from seven goals to three, but failed to get closer until the last few minutes. They missed the chance to reduce to two goals four times, as Vipers protected the lead until late in the game
- Györ were finally rewarded in the final minutes, even coming within one in the last, but they could not equalise and Anna Vyakhireva sealed the victory for Vipers with the last goal
- Norway centre back Stine Bredal Oftedal was the top scorer of the match, with 11 goals — the best individual performance of her career in the EHF FINAL4. Vipers’ Jamina Roberts had eight goals with Marketa Jerabkova adding seven more goals for the Norwegian side
- the reigning champions will wait for the second semi-final to see who their opponents will be in the final, where they aim to become only the second team in the history of the premium European competition to win three titles in a row, after Györ
- Györ lost their second EHF FINAL4 semi-final from the eight they have played, and also the second in the last three seasons, as their early dominance in the EHF FINAL4 is starting to dwindle
Records fall as Vipers deliver outstanding attacking performance
Vipers’ plan was clear from the first minute: Use their speed to dominate Györ’s defence. And it worked like a charm for the first 30 minutes, when Ambros Martin’s side was virtually unable to make any stops and hamper the Norwegian side’s fast throw-offs.
By the 26th minute of the game, Vipers, who are now on an eight-game winning streak this season, had already scored the highest number of goals in a first half against Györ in the history of the premium European competition.
It was blow after blow delivered to Györ, who tried to mount a comeback, spearheaded by Oftedal, who scored 11 goals in the match. But the Hungarian side, cheered by over 15,000 fans dressed in green, failed to deliver the needed goods to complete it.
Therefore, for the second season in a row, Györ lost to Vipers and the Norwegian side are now primed to fight for their third consecutive title — an outstanding performance, which was only previously mustered by Györ.
It is a great team and we knew that it was going to be hard. We needed to play as fast as possible, scoring 37 goals — it is something I am very happy about. We had an excellent first half. In the second there was more pressure from Györ.